• http://theillustratedlife.com Brenton
  • Lessig

    Sorry, fixed. Not sure how that happened.

  • http://pberry.vox.com/ Pat Berry

    I’m honestly not sure if that is sarcasm or not.

  • Joshua Zeidner

    “As the product of a series of mergers, AT&T now employs over 300,000 people and turns over $115bn in revenue – eleven Googles, or four Intels. The deal signed off by the FCC over the holidays also gives AT&T full control of Cingular, the United States’ second largest cellular network. Can there be anyone happier in the telecoms business tonight than Whitacre?”

    Interesting that the new iPhone chose to partner with Cingular.

    -Joshua Zeidner

  • http://www.highprogrammer.com/alan/ Alan De Smet

    If you’re shooting for dry sarcasm, Lessig, it’s so dry I’m missing it.

    This is, after all, a man who has written a dozen or so articles just to bash the Creative Commons (http://preview.tinyurl.com/yjolg3). He managed wrote an entire article insisting that Doonesbury was mocking the Creative Commons, overlooking that the comic in question was a reprint of a comic that ran 6 months after the birth of the CC. (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/02/25/doonesbury_pepperland_copyright_utopia/) Orlowski’s criticisms of CC read like old anti-GPL articles from the early 90s with “GPL” replaced with “CC” and “Stallman” replaced with “Lessig.”

    Orlowski is a hack. He’s either skewing the facts to support his world view, or doing it to draw page views by being “controversal.” Either is inexcusable. He can’t be trusted.

    In this particular article Orlowski cites the famous “Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?” quote. Orlowski then insists that Whitacre made it clear in future discussions that “he was really talking about voice and video.” Of course, Orlowski fails to provide quotes to substantiate these claims. He also insists that the threat of a non-neutral net is fictional; ignoring the very real example of cell phone network services; a stunning example of what Whitacre wants. Orlowski ignores the plain meaning of what Whitacre said, or what Bill Smitth (CTO of BellSouth) said, “Bill Smith, chief technology officer at BellSouth, justified content charging companies by saying they are using the telco’s network without paying for it.” Both men ask why content providers should get to use their networks without paying, completely ignoring that customers are paying them for the network access. Orlowski ignores the obvious intent to double-dip. If these network providers wanted to provide discounted or free network connections for consumers by instead charging providers, that would be something entirely different, but they didn’t say that.

    Finally Orlowski suggests that because everyone was worrying about Net Neutrality that the AT&T-BellSouth merger succeeded. His evidence: “everyone” was worried about net neutrality, then the merger was approved. Orlowski needs to learn the difference between correlation and causation.

  • Joshua Zeidner

    I agree with Alan De Smet here, this article is wonky trash. It would appear that the author is trying to depict Whitaker as some kind of billionaire martyr.

    “TV is represents the best hope for dinosaurs to escape distinction – and Verizon and AT&T have made huge investments in high capacity bandwidth in an effort to grab the TV market from the entrenched cable operators. It’s an expensive gamble, but the long term rewards are huge: consumers rarely change their utility provider, and are even less likely to change when they get three utilities (phone, TV and internet) from the one supplier.”

    Do these companies actually think that they are going to be holding the consumer hostage with their bundled services? The reason why the consumer ‘rarely change their utility provider’ is because the offerings are relatively reasonable. What is being proposed will result in altered market activity.

    What I find the most interesting is that as soon as the telcos thought they had the entire telecom policy world under their control an army of amateur telecom policy experts cropped up! amazing how that works. jmz

  • Paul Miller

    A very thought-provoking and entertaining article, thank you Professor.

    People like Joshua and Alan here are so busy attacking the author they missed the point. I didn’t see any case put forward that AT&T invented Net Neutrality as an issue, but that they took advantage of it once it was an issue.

    As Orlowski says, the threat was bogus (or containable) and the “concessions” cost AT&T nothing.

    I’ve had a problem with Net Neutrality and the Martin Geddes quote puts the finger on it better than anyone: “It’s an output, not an input.”

  • Joshua Zeidner

    Paul,

    The threat of Net Neutrality is not bogus.

    Regarding the author, his stance is so utterly ludicrous that he has to retain this ambiguous sarcasm tone. That way, if anyone calls him on it, he can say he was joking.

    People like Joshua and Alan here are so busy attacking the author they missed the point. I didn’t see any case put forward that AT&T invented Net Neutrality as an issue, but that they took advantage of it once it was an issue.

    I have no idea what your babbling means here. Perhaps you can do us a favor and explain yourself.

    sure Net Neutrality is an output, not an input. Apparently we should trust at&t with the inputs… after all the US has some of the best data service offerings in the world, right? I mean, at&t has done such a stellar job up until now, why complain? ( note sarcasm ). I find your lack of faith disturbing.

    -jmz

  • http://fridgemagnet.livejournal.com/ fridgemagnet

    This article seems quite terminally incoherent, to be honest – a load of quotes from Whitacre which don’t rule out streamed transfer pricing, with the assertion that they do – not that he’s the only involved party anyway – and the consistent statement that net neutrality was never anything but an imaginary issue. There’s basically sod all to it; it may be repeated a lot of times but that doesn’t make it any more true. And Orlowski has the cheek to equate NN proponents with wild conspiracy theorists!

  • Joshua Zeidner

    This article seems quite terminally incoherent

    correct. A cacophony of incoherent nonsense has been the tactic of the telcos since the municipal wireless thing started up. I am sure that some of the people who comment on this blog are payed to do so.

    not to slight professor Lessig, but he has consistently backed an opinion that I will for brevity’s sake refer to as ‘megatelco lite’. This could be a function of his environment, I don’t know. His statements on NN appear to be based on a combination of misinformation, assumptions, and a predispostion towards a particular view of telecom market economics. Maybe he’s connected to the wrong interweb tube.

    As of yet, I have not found anyone who I can say is both dedicated to the cause and has a solid understanding of the problems associated with NN.

  • drew

    By about the 10th paragraph, I was almost positive this was a pile of crap. Half way through reading it, I was completely positive and couldn’t take any more. I feel like I’ve just been tested.

  • three blind mice

    As of yet, I have not found anyone who I can say is both dedicated to the cause and has a solid understanding of the problems associated with NN.

    He’s either skewing the facts to support his world view, or doing it to draw page views by being “controversal.” Either is inexcusable. He can’t be trusted.

    translation: if you don’t agree with me you either don’t understand the problem, or can’t be trusted.

    lol guys. keep trying.

  • Dada

    3BM, for god sakes get a real job, one where at least you get to use your real name.

  • three blind mice

    3BM, for god sakes get a real job, one where at least you get to use your real name.

    lol Dada. three blind mice IS our real name.

    anyway, it is the message, and not the messenger which is important. and speaking of the message, does anyone disagree with the “not to be trusted” mr. orlowski when he writes:

    Internet protocols are still so inefficient at guaranteeing QoS, that one modest Bittorrent user can clog up a network. Worse, there’s no way to guarantee QoS across hops – although the ITU’s long-term NGN (Next Generation Network) initiatives seek to address these. Without QoS, IPTV providers have to build far more infrastructure than the need to, and this over-provisioning is expensive – and they still can’t guarantee a decent picture.

    simple physics friends. bandwidth is not infinite. and unless there is an incentive (a FINANCIAL incentive) to build more infrastructure, bandwidth isn’t even large.

    The Dems’ law would have outlawed QoS, even when the participants entered such a contract by mutual agreement, and institutionalised one slow lane for everyone.

    outlawing QoS in a communications nework – by law – is utterly ridiculous.

  • Joshua Zeidner

    3BM, why do we have to go over this again and again?

    Internet protocols are still so inefficient at guaranteeing QoS, that one modest Bittorrent user can clog up a network. Worse, there’s no way to guarantee QoS across hops – although the ITU’s long-term NGN (Next Generation Network) initiatives seek to address these. Without QoS, IPTV providers have to build far more infrastructure than the need to, and this over-provisioning is expensive – and they still can’t guarantee a decent picture.

    oh yes, the evil Bittorrent users. The quote sums it up, whose problem is it, the public users or the private company? Why should we make policy concessions for telcos so they are able to wipe out cable companies? Does At&T look like they need help? Poor, poor, telcos. They can’t guarantee a decent picture. This article is hilarious.

    The essence of the argument is one of fabricated scarcity and clandestine monopoly. But frankly I’m sick and tired of arguing with people like you, we need an adequate forum to discuss this without interference and noise from telco people. For every useful piece of information there are 20 3bms adding in their garbage.

  • three blind mice

    For every useful piece of information there are 20 3bms adding in their garbage.

    *mice shake three heads in dispair

    Joshua Zeidner, QoS means Quality Of Service.

    it is a technical term used by engineers, particularly communications engineers, to describe a network operation.

    cisco, the california company that makes devices called routers, have a nice tutorial on the subject from which we quote:

    Fundamentally, QoS enables you to provide better service to certain flows. This is done by either raising the priority of a flow or limiting the priority of another flow. When using congestion-management tools, you try to raise the priority of a flow by queuing and servicing queues in different ways. The queue management tool used for congestion avoidance raises priority by dropping lower-priority flows before higher-priority flows. Policing and shaping provide priority to a flow by limiting the throughput of other flows. Link efficiency tools limit large flows to show a preference for small flows.

    explain for us, Joshua Zeider, how you propose to solve the problem of network congestion without using QoS.

    explain for us how cool new bandwidth hungry and time sensitive applications (like IPTV and VoIP) are going to thrive in a network environment that OUTLAWS QoS.

    you may use any material you wish in the exam, but your answer must fit within this tiny window. there are two constraints: the speed of light is finite and you may not employ wishful thinking.

    since QoS is an end-to-end deal, no partial credit will be given.

  • Joshua Zeidner

    3BM, why should I explain this again to someone who doesn’t even feel that they should supply their actual name to the readers here? I have said on this blog before, QoS is a valid argument but does not substantiate the claims of said telco lobby. Explain for us 3BM, how the internet is going to be of any use to anyone if it is a giant cable network?

    BTW- I hope readers here have caught Lessig’s statement on Wired:

    http://slashdot.org/articles/07/01/15/2155259.shtml

    Lessig, I am a bit insulted that you chose to make this address on wired as opposed to your own blog where the subject of your stance on NN was already being discussed. Is there some kind of problem with addressing the laity directly? Don’t forget us little people over here.

  • Paul

    I find your lack of faith disturbing

    I make my judgements based on reason, not on faith. Joshua, you have failed to propose a single rational argument for why additional legislation to ensure NN (whatever it is) is required.

    Apparently we should trust at&t with the inputs

    We have an institution that deals with the abuses you describe, called the FCC. Your support of new legislation, to preserve something you can’t define, is based on the FCC being unable to do its job. If you have evidence to support this position, please can you share it – all I can see is paranoia, which The Register article describes very well as fear of Keyser Sose – a fictional character.

    Orlowski, in my view correctly, quotes Madison River vs Vonage – where FCC action was swift and just.

    So Joshua, you want a new law to deal with an imaginary threat, and damn the consequences of that law.

    What makes you so special? Do we need a law against The Grinch, too?

  • three blind mice

    Explain for us 3BM, how the internet is going to be of any use to anyone if it is a giant cable network?

    well Joshua Zeidner, if that is your real name, it’s gonna work pretty much like it does today: some of the bandwidth will be reserved/used for cable TV and other value added services requiring lots of bandwidth and a high QoS and some of it used for IP access at a lower QoS.

    where is your faith in your fellow neutralnetwork comrades?
    you NN types seem to think that there is no market for net neutral access and that it will disappear from the face of the earth unless the democrats make it law. this is a pessimistic view of things. it seems to us mice unlikely that, so long as a SIGNIFICANT customer demand exists for this sort of access, that NN access will disappear. your dirt roads will always exist. mandating NN will GUARANTEE it but at the cost of denying everyone else the possibility to enjoy the greater potential of a paved information highway.

    and dude what is with the name thing? what does it matter? why should it matter? are our views to be dismissed because we are “not to be trusted”, like the hapless mr. orlowski?

    moreover, do you imagine that someone has to pay us to disagree with you?? LOL.

    rest assured, Joshua Zeidner, the three blind mice shill for no one. the entertainment value of these exchanges is all the compensation we require.

  • http://www.underground-training.com Dave Mitchell (Karate Guy)

    You know, I think now that the dem’s are in power they will make sure the Internet is protected. I think the Republicans were the ones behind the big telecom companies.

    Dave
    Karate Guy

  • Ian Woollard

    I still think that AT&T is going to go after charging the content providers. The fact is that a combined AT&T just makes it even easier to do, not harder. It’s vaguely plausible that Whitacre did actually intend to use the Network Neutrality debate to help the merger go forward, but at this point the merger could well have been a largely done-deal anyway; I doubt the regulators could have blocked it; there’s been so much merging going on; it was only really a matter of time.

    The point is that AT&T does now have its fingers on most of the pipes in America, I could certainly see them tightening their grip on a few of them to choke some extra money out at key places.

    AT&T doesn’t have a company ethic like ‘Don’t be evil’.